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Former Shohola official investigated by Grand Jury

March 29, 2011

The former Shohola Township Zoning Officer is being investigated by a grand jury in Harrisburg. Donald Wall, who is the township’s current fire chief, was removed from office in March 2010 by supervisor George Fluhr.

Wall’s wife, Nelia, was also removed from her position as the township secretary and treasurer. She is also one of the township’s supervisors and can only be removed from that office by the voters.

Fluhr’s comment when he and fellow supervisor Greg Hoeper agreed to remove him was simply, “It’s time for a change.” Nelia Wall, who has not been subpoenaed by the grand jury, dissented in that vote.

Grand jury investigations are secret and no aspects of the investigation can be revealed to anyone except the target and those who appear before it if they so wish, said Mils Fredrickson, deputy press secretary of the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office.

An article appeared in The Pocono Record on March 29 in which Wall said he believed he that was being investigated in his role as zoning officer. “Supposedly this grand jury investigation is about me. I can not tell you why,” he said in the article.

Wall believes that the complainers could be people upset with being cited for zoning violations.

When this reporter spoke to Wall two months ago, he said that “rumors” about an investigation were being spread by Fluhr, local attorney Eric Hamill and other discontented citizens. “I have not been subpoenaed and have not had to appear before any court official,” he said at that time.

The Record article also quoted Hamill, an outspoken critic of the removals, who stated he was subpoenaed because of his criticism of the Walls. Hamill and others have accused the Walls of conflicts of interest in improperly giving information about their company, TLC Excavation, to builders who were seeking permits from Wall in his role as zoning officer.

The Walls’ removals from their position sparked a prolonged period of turmoil among residents at township meetings, which has lasted for over a year. There has been widespread criticism of the Fluhr and Hoeper at these meetings and wide popular support for the Walls. There were two construction company owners who spoke in favor of Fluhr’s decision at the first meeting back in March 2010, but they have never returned.
“They were afraid of reprisals,” Wall said to this reporter nearly a year ago.

Township Zoning Officer Bob DiLorenzo was also subpoenaed but refused to comment for the Record article.

Wall could not be reached for comment in time for this article.